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Govt issues GO facilitating mercantile marine activity

Govt issues GO facilitating mercantile marine activity

The Union Ministry of Shipping has issued an order to facilitate trade using inland waterways and mercantile marine activity along coasts. The Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) has issued an order declaring waters inward of the baseline, as per the notification under Maritime Zone Act, as ‘Inland Waters’.

These orders would enable vessels that are hitherto allowed to operate only in rivers and other inland waters to operate in sea waters within this baseline. This is expected to contribute for a greater degree transportation of goods and trade within the country and along the coast line.

But the inland waterway facility will be subjected to safety conditions prescribed by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and the DGS.

The amended Inland Vessels Act, 1917 along with the Section 3(41) of the Merchant Shipping Act provides the legal frame work for such operations. Such an area where these vessels will be allowed will have to have partially smooth waters with waves of not more than two meters. The order states that those coastal states seeking extension of inland waters beyond the base line may carry out relevant analysis through the National Institute of Oceanography.

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